How to Get the Most Out of Midwest Uke & Harmonica Camp

Location: Camp is at Olivet College. Directions are available through the Midwest Banjo Camp website. Or, use this address: 320 S. Main Street, Olivet MI 49076 to put into your GPS or print from Google Maps. A campus map is available here.

Check-in is just inside the main entrance of the C.S. Mott Academic Center, which is where the classrooms are located. If you are arriving late in the evening, go directly to Shipherd Hall (across the street to the south of Mott). Signs there will direct you to the Olivet student in charge who will have your room key for you.  Check in begins at 12:00pm on Friday.

Parking: Parking is plentiful at Olivet, and it’s free! Spaces are available around the Shipherd Hall and Dole Hall dormitories, near the Kirk Cafeteria, and several other locations. For parking locations, see the map.

Linens & Bedding: Students staying in the dormitories must either supply their own linens and bedding, or rent a set from Olivet College (the charge is $12 per set). To order a set of linens in advance, simply check the appropriate box in the housing section of the registration form.NOTE: IF YOU CAN, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOUR BRING YOU OWN PILLOW, BLANKET, TOWELS, WASHCLOTH, AND PERSONAL ITEMS as you will be more comfortable with them than the college-supplied bedding. The mattress size is 38” x 80”, extra-long twin sheets.
 Even if renting linens, you may want to bring your own pillow and pillowcase for a little at-home comfort.

The linen sets rented from Olivet come with the following items:

  • pillow and blanket
  • 2 sheets & 1 pillow case
  • 2 bath towels & washcloth
  • Packet containing shampoo, cream rinse, body wash & drinking cup

Students staying in the dormitories must either supply their own linens and bedding, or rent a set from Olivet College (the charge this year is $12 per set). To order a set of linens in advance, simply check the appropriate box in the housing section of the registration form.

General Logistics: There is air-conditioning in the Shipherd Hall Dorm, the classrooms, dining room, and auditorium. Assignment to Shipherd Hall is on a first-come-first served basis. There is no air-conditioning in the other dorms. Note that you will have to walk outdoors from both dorms to the Mott Academic Center where classes are located, and at mealtimes you’ll have to walk about three minutes across a central quad between Mott and the Kirk Cafeteria. If you’re assigned to Shipherd, you just have to walk across the street to get to Mott. From Dole Hall, you have to walk across the quad to get to Mott.

There Are No Elevators in the Dorms: None of the dormitories have elevators, so if you have trouble climbing up and down stairs, please note that on your registration and we’ll assign you a first floor room while they last. (The C.S. Mott Academic Center where our workshops are held do have elevators.)

Those with Difficulty Walking: Students who have difficulty walking, please contact us ahead of time. We have been promised that a golf cart — driven by Olivet students — will be made available at mealtimes and perhaps at other times as well.

Be Prepared for the Climate: Although seasonal averages for June in Michigan indicate otherwise, we have sometimes had warm, muggy weather during Camp. Although the weather at Camp the last few years has been quite mild, we still strongly recommend that you come prepared with an adequate supply of shorts, T-shirts, and other warm-weather gear. Do carry a sweater or light jacket with you in case they crank up the a/c too far. We also recommend that you have with you a light waterproof jacket with a hood, in the event of rain. Above all, MONITOR THE WEATHER REPORTS for Olivet, Michigan before departing for camp.

If you are assigned (or choose to be in) a dorm with no a/c, we recommend that you bring a small fan along to make your sleeping conditions more comfortable.

Stay Hydrated! Bring a refillable water bottle to camp, there are watering stations on each floor at C.S. Mott Academic Center.

Recording Devices
Workshops: Many of our instructors teach by ear, so we strongly recommend that you bring audio recording devices to listen at home to the tunes and techniques you learned at Camp. Nowadays most mobile phones have built-in recording features that are surprisingly good; otherwise there are quite a number of excellent inexpensive dedicated recording devices on the market. We feel that having the opportunity to record at least portions of your classes can be a valuable learning tool, but as a courtesy YOU MUST REQUEST PERMISSION FROM YOUR INSTRUCTORS. Video recording is expressly prohibited without permission of the instructor.

Taping at the Faculty Concert: Students may record the concert on personal recording devices provided that their set-ups are relatively simple and do not interfere with other audience members ability to enjoy the proceedings – be discreet and considerate. We do ask that no audio or video recordings made of artists at MUC be posted on the internet without their permission. Those who come up with good footage are urged to send us copies for possible use on our web site (we too will get permission of the artists involved, of course).

Workshops Tips
Workshop 101: How to Get the Most Out of an Ukulele Workshop from Ukulele Magazine

Schedule Conflicts: It’s very likely that sometimes you’ll look at our schedule and wish you could be three places at once. This is quite normal, and not grounds for alarm. In fact, we feel we wouldn’t be properly doing our job as programmers if you didn’t want to be three places at once! The first time this happens to you, just follow your instincts and make your selection (you can’t go wrong, all the choices are good!). The next time you feel torn, try to select a class offered by a different teacher, the time after that by a third teacher, and so on.

Be diverse! Try to sample at least one class by as many instructors in your genre as possible over the course of the weekend. Don’t feel intimidated about attending a class offered by an instructor who is well known or whose playing is complex. After all, if he or she can do the complex stuff, he or she can probably explain the simple stuff, too (and all our teachers are great explainers, or they wouldn’t be here!)

Wrong Level? Feel free to leave a class and try another: If you are in a class that’s too easy or hard, you are welcome to discreetly leave and join another.

NO NOODLING! Please refrain from playing or “noodling” on your instrument until the instructor directs you to. It can be very annoying to the instructor as well as the other students in the room.

Other Music Related Items to Bring To Camp We strongly recommend that you bring the following items with you to camp: an electronic tuner, a music stand, capo, spare strings, etc. If you do forget any of these items, never fear; you can pick them up at the store that Elderly Instruments runs on site.

Emergency Phone Numbers: For real emergencies, call 911. The Campus Safety number at Olivet College is 269-749-7911. Other useful numbers will be provided later and/or may be published in your programs.


Vegetarian Meals: There will be vegetarian options available as part of our regular meal service and these will be clearly labeled as such.

Other Special Diets: Vegans and those with food allergies or special diets can usually be accommodated by the Olivet kitchen. Be sure to mention your dietary needs on the registration form. Then – either upon arrival or at the start of your first meal at MBC – also talk to the food service people at Kirk Cafeteria.

Meal Tickets: Those who don’t have meal tickets (everyone registered have their meals provided) may purchase individual meal tickets at the Cafeteria. Other Places to Eat: There are other meal options in downtown Olivet and environs (see below).

Downtown Olivet (a short walk from campus) offers a coffee shop and a corner restaurant sells pizza, ice cream and offers a full Italian menu. There are also some eating options in the opposite direction, including a Subway and the Lamplighter sports bar. There are also numerous places to eat in Charlotte (c. 10 miles North on I-69) and Marshall (c. 10 miles South on I-69).

Email Lists in the Program Booklet: We intend to print all students’ names and email addresses in the program booklet. If you do NOT want to have your name and email address printed in the booklet, please email us at by June 8

Bring Extra $$ for our Camp Store and Guest Vendors

Artist CDs & Instructional Materials: No doubt you’ll want to take home lots of CDs, books and videos by your favorite instructors. We’ll have an artist sales booth to help you fulfill this aim. To make things easier for you, we can take any major credit card.

Camp T-Shirts and other souvenirs: For our 2020 camp, we will have another wonderfully cool t-shirt designed by a local artist.

Elderly Instruments will have a satellite store stocked with ukes, harmonicas, other instruments, and all kinds of musical accessories. If you forget something musical, it’s a good chance they’ll have it.

Mason Guitar and Ukulele: Kevin Mason has been hand-crafting wonderful guitars since 2002 and ukuleles since 2006, As a small-shop craft builder, Kevin believes in making instruments that are beautiful to the eye, using only the best quality solid woods. Because he was a player long before he was a builder, Kevin is sensitive to the touch and easy playability of his instruments, and to the tone and sustain of the instruments he makes. You can play some of his latest creations at his booth in our camp store.

Visiting Elderly Instruments: Many students have inquired when Elderly Instruments might be available to visit. Elderly will have instruments, accessories, and an assortment of other things at MUC. For students who wish to visit the main store at 1100 N. Washington in Lansing, the normal business hours are Monday – Friday (11:00 am to 7:00 pm) and Saturday (10:00 am – 6:00 pm). The store is not open Sunday.

Other Information is available at: